MARK Project obtains $250,000 for small business development

By Brian Sweeney
The MARK Project has announced the addition of $250,000 for its Small Business Development Fund.
The fund, which offers a combination of mini-grants and low-interest loans was established after Hurricane Irene to assist businesses in the Town of Middletown, will now extend the program to the towns of Roxbury and Andes. Projects in Bovina and Pine Hill will also be considered, according to MARK Executive Director Peg Ellsworth.
The enhanced program will small grants and loans available to qualified businesses. The grant awards will be made on a competitive basis and recipients will be required to provide a 20 percent match for the amount received.
Ms. Ellsworth said that approved used for the funds can include business expansion, startup businesses, equipment, inventory, job creation, marketing and capital projects.
Eligible applicants include existing businesses in good-standing and new business development. Both business expansion and new businesses startup will be required to present a viable five-year business plan with their submission for funding
Applications for the expanded Middletown Small Business Development Fund will soon be available for download at: www.markproject.org.
The awarding of funds through the Small Business Development will be “highly competitive” and that awards will be made only to those businesses most closely meeting the economic development criteria outlined in the application.

Committee review
The Small Business Development Review committee will review all applications for the grant/loan program. Ellsworth explained that, to date, more than $365,000 has been allocated to through the program since its inception in November 2011.
Located in Arkville, the MARK Project was established more than 30 years ago to provide housing programs, economic development and technical assistance services to the Towns of Andes, Middletown and Roxbury, the Villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville and the hamlet of Pine Hill. The MARK Project Inc. is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit, tax-exempt rural development company that unites efforts and secures resources to build and revitalize local communities.